For Florida real estate closings, you have a choice between hiring a title company or a real estate attorney. It is wrong to assume the two do the same job. In short, a real estate attorney represents and protects the client, while a title company does not.
There is a lot to consider, so here are some of the key facts to remember:
Real Estate Attorney vs. A Florida Title Company
A Title Company Is Not an Attorney
It’s a common misunderstanding that a title company is an attorney and that they’ll do everything an attorney will do.
That’s not the case. A title company is not an advocate for its clients, and its employees cannot give you legal advice. They perform duties, yes, such as inspecting claims against the property and providing insurance – but real estate closures often require much more than that.
Title companies complete a process. But if something unusual arises, they won’t be able to represent you in court.
Title companies are usually the front office for a title insurance company. Amongst their goals, they aim to apply insurance carriers policies.
Attorneys Protect Your Rights
Attorneys, however, can provide legal guidance that protects your rights and interest in all aspects of the transaction. Once hired, your attorney is legally bound to act in your best interest.
Florida real estate attorneys have law degrees and expertise that title companies couldn’t provide even if they wanted to. We’ll have the answers to your concerns from start to finish.
Unlike a Florida title company that is there just to get a job done, we go above and beyond to protect your interests.
The Costs Are Comparable
It’s a myth that title companies will cost less. Most real estate lawyers charge very similar rates to title companies. In fact, you may save money with an attorney because of the potential legal issues that may arise during the transaction.
Put simply; an attorney covers you in every area. A title company just completes one part of the process.
Issues That Only a Florida Real Estate Attorney Can Address
Seller’s Legal Duty to Disclose Repair Work
Did you know that under Florida law, the seller must disclose any known issues or problems with the property? Even if it’s an ‘as is’ contract, the seller can’t hide known defects.
A Florida real estate attorney can ensure the seller meets their duties, and if they don’t, ensure your rights are protected.
A Florida real estate attorney will read the property inspection report to make sure you’re protected. Inspection companies notoriously limit their liability to the cost of the inspection report. They use language that protects them from inaccurate information – leaving you exposed.
A Florida real estate attorney will ensure this doesn’t affect you by reviewing the inspection reports – something a title company won’t do.
Annoyingly, lawsuits arise in real estate closings. From bankruptcy to probate proceedings, each type of litigation can be tough to handle.
A Florida real estate attorney can review the court files, court orders and ensure compliance and a resolution that protects your vision.
Whether it’s a property defect or dispute, an attorney can provide legal solutions to quickly resolve the situation and avoid the deal from collapsing.
A title company threatens to kill the deal in these situations, as they rush to get an attorney on your side at an additional cost.
Drafting and Negotiating Legal Documents
Many real estate closing situations require a contract and legal document adjustments. When drafting these and negotiating with the other party, you need legal expertise on your side.
A Florida title company is precluded from drafting these documents as it would be an unauthorized practice of law – once again, a title company is not an attorney.
Understanding Condominium Rights
Florida has extensive laws for condo unit owners and condominiums. If you’re buying a Florida condo, you must be aware of your rights and duties. A title company won’t be able to assist with any of this. But a Florida real estate lawyer can – from rent and storage rules to title transfer and pets.
Deciding Which Deed Type
In Florida, you can hold legal ownership of real estate in various ways. Your Florida real estate lawyer can advise you on which is best for your vision. A Florida title company cannot provide this advice. Deed types include:
- Quit Claim Deed
- Warranty Deed
- Special Warranty Deed
- Trustee Deed
- Personal Representative’s Deed
Open Title Issues
Some title companies may be willing to complete closings despite known issues in the chain of title because their title insurance underwriter is issuing a title insurance policy.
But that comes with risks.
A Florida real estate lawyer will provide expert legal guidance on any closing deal if there is a potential problem in the chain of title.
Other Issues That Florida Real Estate Lawyers Can Resolve Include:
- Lease Agreements
- Waterfront Properties
- Buying personal property with the real estate
- Code violations
- Boundary issues
- Entity issues
- Foreign sellers of real estate
- Agreement negotiations
- Changes in ownership after closing
- Mortgage company duties
Consider Your Overall Closing Experience
Let’s get to the point – you want a smooth closing experience. This might be your dream purchase or an important, life-changing sale. You deserve a memorable closing experience for the right reason. You don’t want stress, wasted money, time and conflict.
Remember, title companies complete a process but can’t provide legal advice or provide litigation.
- Experience and expertise: Real estate lawyers have years of experience in the field and will be able to guide you through the process, avoiding costly mistakes that could set you back. Every box will be checked and every question answered.
- Flexible: Real estate attorneys can adapt to any issue that arises and access your key documents any time, anywhere.
- Memorable: Communication is a key attorney skill. From the first time you meet to the defining moments, you’ll feel reassured and relaxed, knowing each decision is made with confidence.
Hire a Real Estate Attorney in St Petersburg, FL
If you’re making a sale or purchase in Florida, contact us today to complete the closing without any problems and with expert guidance.
Our attorneys, Ross and Purdun at Battaglia, Ross, Dicus & McQuaid, P.A. have extensive experience that can help you draft and review your contract, advise you on the next steps to secure your transaction and tackle any disputes or litigation that may arise.
Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.